SACKVILLE, N.B. – Mount Allison students are not giving up on their efforts to claim a tuition rebate for their lost class time during this winter’s faculty strike, despite the university announcing Monday it would not be offering any compensation.
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Mount Allison students protest on the university’s campus earlier this month demanding a tuition rebate. The university’s administration announced Monday no rebate would be given.
“We are extremely disappointed that the university is recommending against a rebate,” said Mount Allison Student Union (MASU) president Melissa O'Rourke. “However, the students’ union has full intention on lobbying the board of regents to overturn the recommendation at the upcoming meeting in May.”
MASU submitted a proposal to the university after the strike, asking that all full- and part-time Mount Allison students be compensated for the duration of the disruption. The proposal recommended that the rebate could be paid with the funds that had been allocated for academic salaries, which had not been paid out during the three-week strike.
“It is our intention to continue to apply pressure and support the proposal,” O’Rourke added. “After receiving over 500 letters from students, parents, and alumni, it has become clear that a rebate is what the greater Mount A community wants."
In a statement made online this week, the university says its focus will continue to be on “meeting individual needs and ensuring students are able to successfully complete their year,” and will increase its support and services to students.
The university points out that tuition fees are not set according to the number of hours in the classroom, but for the course delivered. So a refund would only be applicable if a course or a term was cancelled.
“Student tuition covers a wide range of services provided to students,” the statement reads. “In-class instruction is only one of the many things student tuition pays for and faculty have restructured courses in order to make the best use of the in-class time available in the revised schedule.”
The university’s administration and the Mount Allison Faculty Association (MAFA), representing 154 full-time and 56 part-time professors and librarians, agreed to binding arbitration in mid-February after three weeks of faculty being out on the picket lines. The binding arbitration hearing could take anywhere from six months to a year in order to resolve all the outstanding issues within the collective agreement.
The university says the final costs of the strike are not yet known. A number of financial issues will be settled during the binding arbitration process and these are costs the university has to anticipate and plan for, it says.
Following the end of the strike, the university senate voted on a new academic schedule, which saw the school year ending as planned and no extension to make up for the lost class time.
MASU says it will be bringing further discussion of the student unions’ proposal to the joint meeting of the university Senate and faculty council on April 1.